[QODLink]
Americas

Killer whales trapped under ice in Canada

Locals call on government for help as mammals gather around a single hole in the ice trying to get oxygen.
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2013 09:20

Residents of Inukjuak in Quebec's Far North are calling for outside help after about a dozen killer whales became trapped under a vast stretch of sea ice.

Locals said the mammals have gathered around a single hole in the ice - slightly bigger than a pickup truck - in a desperate bid to get oxygen.

Mayor Peter Inukpuk urged the Canadian government to send an icebreaker as soon as possible to crack open the ice and help the whales find open water.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it is sending officials to assess the situation.

"Fisheries and Oceans Canada is assessing the situation and are exploring every possible option, but will only be in a position to determine what - if anything - can be done once our specialists arrive on site," spokesman Frank Stanek said in a statement.

A hunter first spotted the pod of about a dozen trapped whales on Tuesday at the hole, which is on the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay.

Inukjuak is about 1,500km north of Montreal.

Caught off guard

Dozens of villagers made the one-hour snowmobile ride on Tuesday to see the unusual spectacle.

They snapped photos and shot video footage of the killer whales surfacing in the opening - and even thrusting themselves skyward while gasping for air.

One woman who made the journey to the gap in the ice said even a curious polar bear approached the hole amid the commotion.

Siasie Kasudluak said the bear was shot by a local hunter for its meat.

The trapped orcas appeared to be in distress, but locals were ill-equipped to help out.

Kasudluak said the hole appeared to be shrinking in the freezing temperatures.

Inukpuk believes the sudden drop in temperature recently caught the whales off guard, leaving them boxed in under the ice.

299

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list